December 18, 2014

New Potato Prints, With Collage

Untitled 64, ink and pasted paper on Akatosashi paper, 14 x 10 in.

As is my wont, seeing an art exhibition has inspired new ideas for my work, in this case the marvelous show at MoMA, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. I began by painting some paper shapes, using my Japanese printmaking papers; then I glued them to sheets of paper, taking some time to figure out a placement that would have some energy. Once the papers were dry, I added ink using potato stamps, as with my previous potato prints. In the print above, the yellow-orange rectangle is pasted paper, and the thick red line is printed. Because I used thin Japanese papers, there is a lot of wrinkling and shrinking from the pasting process.

Untitled 65, ink and pasted paper on Twinrocker paper, 7 x 15 1/4 in. 

Untitled 66, ink and pasted paper on Twinrocker paper, 14 x 10 3/4 in.

When I used a heavy weight handmade paper, such as the Twinrocker above, there was no wrinkling. But it's odd, I prefer using the more delicate papers for this work; there's something about the vulnerability of the thin paper that is very attractive to me.

Untitled 67, ink and pasted paper on Akatosashi paper, 7 1/2 x 13 in.

In Untitled 67  I tore a triangle from a piece of Gifu Green Tea Light paper, which is a spotted white. I balanced it with a printed white square.

Untitled 68, ink and pasted paper on Gampi Smooth paper; 2 panels, each 15 x 12 in.

The pale green rectangles of Gifu Green Tea Medium paper are close in value to the warm-colored ground paper, Gampi Smooth. Because they are both quite thin and a lot of glue (I used wheat paste) was needed for the large pieces of pasted paper, the work is quite wrinkled. I can't decide if it's a distraction or an integral aspect of the process, but I didn't dislike it enough to discard it. 

Untitled 68 detail

 I added lines of a pale white slightly tinted with green to unify the composition.

Untitled 69, ink and pasted paper on Nishinouchi paper, 10 1/2 x 20 in.

A long red rectangle of pasted paper holds up some fading circles rolling on a blue horizontal. This paper, Nishinouchi, is a heavier handmade paper, so wrinkling is less evident. I am considering using my heavier Japanese papers for my collage/potato print hybrids. Feedback is welcome; you can see the images better if you click to enlarge them.

Untitled 70, ink on Gampi Smooth paper, 15 x 25 in.

Finally, a print that has no pasted paper on it. I stamped the four shapes, then stopped to think: I had planned to add something in the center, but as I looked at the print, it seemed less and less necessary to me. I'm still not sure that the print has any value, but I'm glad I left the center empty.


  1. Untitled 70 is intriguing, as if something were going to happen, but there is waiting and silence.

    1. Thanks, James, I very much like your reading of that piece.

  2. I want to fold #70 back-and-forth accordion-wise and bring those potatoes back together!
    #69 is so pleasant.

  3. I keep remembering a comment made by Louise Hamlin one Summer at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, when I worried that my gelatin prints might not be a serious medium. She said that she knew an artist who made potato prints that were beautiful and utterly serious. I can only surmise that she meant you, although I don't recall her mentioning a name.
    My Christmas present this year is a trip to NYC to see the cutouts. I can hardly contain my joy.

  4. 68 and 70 work best for me. Pregnant spaces, edges, allusions & tension.

  5. Thanks for the comments, JBS, Deborah, and Julie. It's nice to know your favorites.
    And Deborah, Louise might have meant me since she did visit my studio and saw some of my potato and cardboard prints.